I don’t know exactly when this began…I can’t pinpoint a day when it started happening…all I know that is the last week or so, Evy is different.
If I slow myself down enough and LISTEN more closely to our darling Bug (taking my cue from him instead of getting my mind stuck on our list of what we need to work on together), he is actually using more real words to communicate what he wants, what he doesn’t want, and also to play with us!! I can still hardly believe this huge development, the voice in the back of my mind keeps asking: Wwwhhaaaaatttt?!! More consistent, functional, accurate verbal communication has been my own biggest concern with Evy for well over a year now. It was the nagging worry that would embed itself in my heart, and upset my stomach. And somehow, without me even consciously knowing exactly when it started, he has crossed that threshold into a new era of his development! How amazing is that?!!! 🙂
The first day I can recall him being different was last Thursday–I had been in bed all morning in pain, and I finally got myself out of bed to drag myself to the kitchen and ask Scott to stay home from work the remainder of the day so that I could go in to the ER (that is an entire separate story for another time). As I spoke with him, I wondered where our darling Evy was…Cody was at the table having lunch, Lydia as well, but Evy was nowhere around. Scott informed me that the little dude was in his room, so I headed in to see him: I found him playing with toy cars, saying “3,2,1, GO!!” and driving them off of a stool. He saw me come in, immediately stopped what he was doing, the biggest smile spreading across his sweet face, and he ran over to hug me. <insert heart melting emoticon here>! He gave me one of his real kisses, complete with the “mmmmm” sound he loves to make, and then turned around….I assumed he had lost interest in our embrace, and was going to do his own thing….because that’s the type of thing we have become accustomed to with him over the years. But nope, this time he went and got his rubber ducky from the corner of the room, and brought it back to me saying “quack, quack”. It took a moment or two for that fact to register…and I thought “What did he just say?!” As if to reassure me, he took the ducky up on to the edge of his crib, pretended to move it along like it was swimming, and continued with his “quack, quack” noises. HOLY MAN!! This was the first time EVER that he had brought a toy to me, of his own free will, and made the proper sound effect for that animal all at once. My heart felt like it could explode with joy, and I hugged my amazing little man so close once again!!! I clapped my hands & cheered “Way to go Evy!”–and he dropped his little duck, clapped his hands along with me and said “YAY!”….MIND-BLOWN!!!
Since then, he has been surprising us with tiny bits of his verbal development at a time each day. Things that, to a parent of a neuro-typical child of age 3, may seem like small beans….but for Evy, the way his brain is wired with this Leukoencephalopathy, is a HUGE accomplishment!! He has begun dropping these bits of communication bombs such as: “oh-no!” when he drops something, “no” when he doesn’t want something, calling “mom” or “dada” from his crib, cheering “yay” for himself when he jumps high or does something else he finds to be equally impressive, “cup” or “mook” when he is looking for more milk in his sippy cup, and pushing his baby sister gently away when she tries to take his sippy cup telling her a firm “no” and also using “Iddy” for her name right afterwards (which is “Lydia”). Hilariously, he also answers my questions such as “What are you doing?!” with a cheeky little “what!!”. Little ham!!! He acts as if this is commonplace that he uses speech to communicate…and little does he know, although he may have been thinking all of this all along, actually hearing it is so new for us!! He probably wonders why his parents seem ready to throw a party with every syllable that comes out of his mouth this week, ha!!!
This afternoon was the most jaw-dropping of all. As Lydia napped, I reviewed the list in my head of what our current goals from PT, OT and SLP are for Evy, and decided we could try a farm puzzle together. I sang “Old McDonald” as we put each animal back in it’s proper place, and Evy kept smiling. We went through all of the animals a time or two, with no outward sign of Evy wanting to imitate any of it yet. (That’s another thing I’ve gotten used to with this darling little man; in fact, his SLP & I were just touching on this topic a few days ago–whereas many little ones will imitate or mirror quite quickly, Evy seems to take things in in his own silent manner, store them away to process them, and then they come back out hours or even days later. It’s just how Evy works.) He turned around and stepped up on to his little toddler trampoline, and I thought to myself “well, I guess that’s the end of that for now…”, and suddenly he turned around, took the duck piece, and said a few syllables I had difficulty recognizing….but I continued listening, and he followed with “ee-I-ee-I-Oh!”, and then some “quack, quack, here” and “quack, quack, there”….more syllables I had a hard time hearing…and “ee-I-ee-I-oh!”. My darling angel was singing to me!!!!! He also did “oink oink” and “meep meep” (for the goat, I assume). Not all of the syllables or words are recognizable just yet, but he is well on his way!! And he’s got the rhythm down!! Go Bug, Go!!!!!
Tonight as we said goodnight, he made it very clear that he did NOT want to go to sleep. He reached for me, and said “Mom, nooooo”, “Mom, noooo”. Oh my heart!! Those words grab my heartstrings and tug sooooo hard. I adore this little angel more than any words could ever say. (But regardless, it was bedtime, so I gave him a hug, his sippy cup, told him how much I love him, and started to say goodnight.) Just before I left, I handed him his precious rubber ducky, asking him if he wanted it for bedtime; he took it with a smile, and said “quack quack”.
I’ve never enjoyed the sound of a duck so very much 🙂
Darling Evy, keep up the good work my little Bug. Mommy, daddy, Cody and Lydia are cheering you on!!!!!